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History and Y Stories

Since its founding in 1892 the people of Marion have been developing the potential of youth, helping one another improve well-being, and giving back to their community through the YMCA. Although the specific programs and services have changed throughout the years the work of the Y has always been to strengthen our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  

In 1933 the Y helped a shy 12 year old, so bashful that he couldn’t answer questions in school, learn that he could speak out loud to others and he did so in style winning a contest on telling the best Bible story. That 12 year boy, now a man well into his later years, still has the Bible he won that day as a prized possession.

In our first facility, located on South State Street, young boys developed self-confidence along with swimming skills in the Y’s tiny pool where the ceiling was so low most adults had to bow their heads when standing on the deck. Progressively respectful and inclusive the Marion YMCA allowed women to use this facility the first year it opened in 1895.

As the Y continued its work in youth development and healthy living the need for a new facility became apparent and we launched a capital campaign in 1950 with a goal to raise $750,000. Due to Marion’s socially responsible resident money was raised and a new larger facility was opened on Church Street in 1953. Many of today’s retired Marionites remember honing leadership skills at the Y through its many youth and teen clubs and activities.

Over the years, the Y’s work in youth development and healthy living once again outgrew its facility. Helping people improve their well-being through popular exercise classes included holding cycling classes in the Y’s lobby due to lack of space. This wasn’t stopping people though from supporting one another and seeing amazing life changes as individuals came to the Y looking to get fit, and stayed because they not only did so but improved their overall well-being through their new social connections and friendships.

In 2004 the Marion Family YMCA moved to its current location on Barks Road. Through the tool of this 88,000 square foot facility we are helping more youth reach their potential, aiding more individuals and families in improving their well-being, and providing more opportunities for people to give back and support their Marion neighbors.


Since joining the YMCA I have lost 28lbs and I can walk better and breathe better but still have to use oxygen. I do the swim fitness class 3 times a week and Cindy has helped me out a lot in this class. She is a great set for the YMCA. Thank you for the scholarship. Without it I would still be in bad shape. Goal for this year is to lose 75 lbs. Last year was 50lbs and I did it. Made my goal!


As a student in graduate school, without any other source of income other than a student loan, the YMCA has made it possible for me to maintain my passion for fitness and manage a healthy level of stress. The YMA has provided a sense of refreshment and rejuvenation in every visit. In the hour I visit the YMCA, I am always appreciative of the opportunity I have to experience “my” time…something I consider imperative in physical and emotional health. Every time I walk through the door I am humbled by the Christian mission statement. I am further reminded it is God who gives me the ability to walk in and rediscover what lies within me…the strength, the heart, the attitude, the determination, the inspiration, and the necessity to take care of myself so I can better serve others. Thank you for making this healthier lifestyle possible, and affordable! In health & in strength.


My job involves advocating for children when they have been abused or neglected. It is difficult to hear the stories I hear about children and their abuse. The YMCA provides a place I can go to bring proper perspective and boundaries I need to keep myself emotionally, mentally and physically fit. My son is on the school football team and the Y provides a place for him to keep in shape during the off season. My daughter watches dance and Y provides a place for her to stay in shape as well

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